The Netherlands, typically known for tulips, windmills, clogs and canals, is a bucket list worthy destination perfect for a relaxing escape from everyday life. Its well-known capital Amsterdam regularly pulls thousands of tourists to its fantastic attractions, which makes it a popular destination for all ages. Whether you’re seeking a city break in this breathtaking capital, or you’d prefer a countryside retreat, there’s plenty to enjoy in The Netherlands and we’ve put together a guide for you, below.
Where Should I Visit In The Netherlands (Holland)?
If there was anyone selling point for The Netherlands, it would be that its unique architecture and rolling landscapes make each area different. From the capital city to rural villages surrounded by windmills, here are just some of the beautiful places in the Netherlands that you can’t miss:
We will start with the very popular capital of Amsterdam. Known for its stunning canals, enviable nightlife, plentiful museums and artistic heritage, this city is a truly popular destination. Pay a visit to the Anne Frank house for a true insight into the life of a Jewish family during WWII or for a more art-based break, the Van Gogh museum offers the best collection of his artworks and recollections of his life across the world. With plenty of interesting museums, some more erotic than others, it doesn’t matter what the weather throws at this city; there are still plenty of tourist attractions, including the Heineken Experience and the Ice Bar, and wonderful restaurants for you to eat at, so you will never be stuck for something to do even if the rain pours. If you are lucky enough to get some gorgeous sunshine, you could take a trip along the canals in a hired boat o on one of the plentiful guided tours.
Despite being Amsterdam’s lesser-known counterpart, Rotterdam is certainly a location worthy of a visit and it’d be a crime to skip it completely. Located in South Holland, Rotterdam is a major port city, servicing most of the entire country. After having been completely destroyed in WWII, its reconstruction has become well-known for its bold, modern architecture. Likewise to Amsterdam, this city has a lot of tourist attractions, which makes it a perfect destination for a city break with no risk of finding yourself lost on things to do. Miniworld Rotterdam, a miniature model of Rotterdam, and Het Park are just two of the fantastic places to visit in this city but its hidden gems are even more charming!
If you want to visit Amsterdam to see the famous windmills, then Zannse Schans in the Dutch town of Zaandam is a perfect area for you. Traditional windmills and distinctive green wooden houses were moved here in order to replicate the look of a traditional 18th/19th-century Dutch village. Zaanse Schans is home to the only working windmill in the country that makes paint – De Kat – and is definitely unmissable.
Delft is a canal-ringed city, which possesses very similar attributes to Amsterdam. This city, located in the western Netherlands, is well-known for making blue and white hand-painted pottery and even plays host to Nieuwe Kerk and Oude Kerk, two traditional churches that prove truly stunning and interesting to walk around and learn more about.
Popular Events In Holland
The Netherlands is widely renowned for its impressive number of events across the country and for travellers still trying to pick their dates, we’ve decided to list a few that are definitely worth a trip themselves.
Since the current King took over Holland’s throne in 2014, Queen’s Day changed to King’s Day, though the celebrations still take place on the 27th April every year and see everyone dressing in orange. With street markets, bands playing, beer pouring and people dancing, this really is a big national party where everyone from across the Netherlands dresses up in their most extravagant orange outfit and parties the night away!
The flower parade in Holland travels 42km’s from Noordwijk to Haarlem, with twenty large floats and thirty decorated cars following one another. The colourful spectacular is watched by thousands upon thousands of Dutch residents and tourists from abroad. This parade is such a joyous event that you truly won’t want to miss.
If you are a music fanatic and love classical music in particular, then the Orajewoud Festival is an event that you’ll love attending. The greatest musicians from all over the world gather on the greens of Orajewould and perform all around Heerenveen for a magical, unforgettable experience.
Flag Day is the celebration of the first herring catch of the year and is a big street festival in Scheveningen, so if a fishy party sounds like your cup of tea, then plan your trip around Flag Day! This is the perfect event for those that would love to experience something authentic as if they were a local and provides brand new, memorable experiences whether you are travelling alone or with your family.
What Food Shall I Try In The Netherlands?
When you visit The Netherlands, you must take the opportunity to taste their local food. Although Holland isn’t necessarily famous for its cuisine, they do have a few dishes and treats that are a definitely worth a try while you are there!
The Stroopwafel is one of the most popular sweet treats form the Netherlands and is well-known around the world. Essentially, it is a waffle made from baked butter and filled with syrup and originates from Amsterdam, where you can find them for sale in pretty much every shop. Once you have one, you will be in love with this treat and we certainly wouldn’t be surprised if your suitcase was full of these on the way home!
If a deep-fried roll with meat ragout inside, all covered in breadcrumbs is what you’re after, then you must try the Kroket. There are many different flavours that you can choose to have inside of your kroket, such as satay chicken or shrimps – you can even have a vegetarian kroket! Like the Stroopwafel, Krokets can be purchased everywhere in Amsterdam and are usually consumed as a snack whilst you are exploring the city!
Typically you will see Poffertjes for sell on a stand outside during the winter months and are a very popular sweet treat in the Netherlands. Essentially they are fluffy miniature pancakes and are usually served with typical pancake toppings including syrups, powdered sugar, butter or sometimes even advocaat.
If you want to try a traditional, old-style dish, then we recommend that you try Stamppot. This dish consists of mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables, such as carrots, kale or endive and is usually eaten during the winter months and is traditionally served with rookworst.
The Stamppot leads us nicely onto Rookworst, which is a Dutch smoked sausage. It can be purchased in every supermarket and is very similar to a hot dog, except it is bigger and has a crispier skin.
If you are in the Netherlands at New Year’s Eve or during the winter holidays, then you will see Oliebollen being served. These deep-fried balls of dough are usually served with sugar and you will typically see them being sold on mobile stands on the streets as the colder weather rolls around.
Where Can I Stay In Holland?
In The Netherlands, there is an abundance of exciting and unique places available as accommodation. Take a look at just some of the amazing experiences you could have, below:
Bloemendaal, North Holland
Have you ever considered staying in the dunes by the sea? In Bloemendaal you can! Spend the night is sea lodges on the edge of this bustling town and be just a stone’s throw away from the sea and beach bars.
You have probably never thought about staying in a windmill before, have you? Really embrace your time in the Netherlands and spend the night in an authentic windmill and be swept away by the views surrounding you.
Rotterdam, South Holland
If a cruise is more your style, then jump aboard the SS Rotterdam and travel back to the 50’s. Enjoy spending time on a luxury cruise, whilst you travel the waters of Holland. This is the perfect time to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation and allow yourself to experience this incredible country to the fullest.
Santpoort-Noord, North Holland
Be adventurous and take the opportunity to stay in the night in Landgoed Duin en Kruidberg, a historic mansion in the peaceful Zuid Kennemerland Park in North Holland.
Why Should I Visit The Netherlands?
Discover the history of tulips in Holland and visit the country during tulip season, so you can see the beautiful fields filled with tulips. Furthermore, if you want a colourful experience, then go to the largest flower auction in the world, Royal Flora Holland. Of course, there are the windmills too. With some incredible stories behind how each one was built and maintained, it’s a history trip like no other.
In addition to windmills and tulips, when you think of Holland you associate the country with cheese. Alkmaar, Edam and Gouda are the best areas to visit in Holland if you want to learn the history of cheese-making, the farming culture and dairy trade in the Netherlands. Each of these famous places in Holland has cheese markets, which gives you the chance to taste and buy the cheese, which you can bring home and enjoy the taste of Holland for longer!
Today, it is unlikely that you will see Dutch residents walking around in clogs in the street; however, clogs are still being made. Farmers and those who live in villages, such as Staphorst and Bunschoten, tend to still wear traditional clothing, so take a trip out if you truly want to experience the quintessential culture. However, if you are in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, where the oldest clogs originated from, then you can buy clogs as souvenirs from most of the shops.
Famous for its canals, the cities of Holland really are brought to life by the water that intertwines through the narrow houses. Enjoy a bite to eat or a well-deserved drink by the side of one of the most iconic canals, or take a boat tour along the water to learn more about the history of these well-known stretches of water. Visit Amsterdam, Utrecht, Delft and Leiden to see the most beautiful views that the Netherlands has to offer.
When you visit Holland you will have a huge choice of museums to explore, all of which contain something very different. Not only will they allow you to extend your knowledge on the fascinating country, but you will be able to embrace some of the most beautiful paintings from the famous Dutch painters, such as Rembrandt van Rijn and Frans Hals.
As you can probably imagine, the Netherlands is a beautiful country all year round, with the winter months not being an exception. When the temperatures drop below zero and 15cm of ice thickens on the canals and rivers, the ice-skating tour begins. The world’s longest ice skating competition run by the Koninklijke Vereniging De Friesche Elf Steden (Royal Frisian Eleven Cities Association), runs through eleven Frisian cities and is a really unique event, which is one not to be missed!
Do I Need An EHIC Card When Travelling To The Netherlands?
An EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) is essential if you are travelling abroad, as it entitles you to medical care and treatment as a UK citizen if you are unfortunate enough to be in an accident or come down with an illness while you are overseas. Click here, if you would like more information about EHIC cards. If you have lost your EHIC card, or you would like to apply for one, then you can get one today from via our website.
We hope that this travel guide has given you some additional help in choosing where to visit in the Netherlands. Happy travelling!